Review: Smart Splash Sail Away Shapes & Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set

Jess McGlynnOctober 4, 2014

Recently we were sent two of Learning Resources products to put to the test.  We have been playing with both products throughout the summer and here are our thoughts:

Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set
The Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set has been designed to help children between the ages of 2-6 years perfect their fine motor skills.

Included in the set is:-

* Gator Grabber Tweezers
* Handy Scoopers
* Twisty Droppers
* Squeezy Tweezers

I used these on a rainy day during the summer holidays to set up a colourful invitation to play.  I laid it all out, then popped the kettle on then sat back and waited for Meg and Eli to discover the game.

It was a big hit (I have measured this on how much of my tea I managed to drink whilst it was still hot!) – they really enjoyed using the tools to pick up the various bits and pieces laid out on the blanket and placing them in the different containers.

What I really loved was watching them try to work out how to use each individual tool.  It was very tempting to step in and try to help them, but I did my best to keep quiet and let them discover the answer for themselves.  Eli in particular found using more of the tools a challenge than Meg but I could see moments when the cogs were whirring in her head too as she tried to compute what she needed to do.

The tools are solid and well made, and they are large enough for little hands to easily grip them.  They are also likely to last the test of time which is vital when you have small people who aren’t going to be careful with their toys.

I would have liked to see some game or activity suggestions with the tools as it would be interesting to find other creative ideas on how to use them, especially for older children.  We have used them for the above invitation to play and also for water play, but I would like to know if there are other ways we could make use of them too.

The set retails at £7.14 which is a decent price considering that they are made of durable plastic, and that even if you just used them as toys for the bath you would more than get your money’s worth.

Smart Splash Sail Away Shapes
As with the Helping Hands set, the Smart Splash Sail Away Shapes are designed for children aged 2-6 and include in the box are eight colourful, squashy plastic boats which each have a matching sail.  The sail has a shape at the bottom which will only fit in the corresponding boat i.e. square, star etc

These are great for bathtime and water play and we’ve played a number of different games with them.  They have a good educational element: practising shapes and colours but also they are just great fun.  The kids particularly enjoyed playing outside with them when the weather was warmer (please excuse my tatty grass in the following pictures!)

The only slight downside is that the sails are heavier than the boats so they do tip over sometimes.  Although that would no doubt happen anyway with the amount of splashing which goes on at bathtime in our house!

I think the boats would be ideal for the younger half of the age bracket as Eli is much more interested in playing with them than Meg, although that might just be a gender thing.

Overall we were impressed with both the products we were sent to review and as always it is clear that Learning Resources have thoughtfully considered products which are fun and educational, as well as being well made, and eye-catchingly colourful.

Family Fever

Comments (3)

  • Kate Fever

    October 7, 2014 at 18:47

    I love both of these sets, and your invitations to play. The Sail Away shapes would be a huge hit in this house! Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested

  • Colette B

    October 8, 2014 at 11:26

    What a great set of toys – I do so love Learning Resources.

    Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested

  • Jo Smith

    October 8, 2014 at 12:37

    These look great! Certainly something I wish I'd gotten for Carson when he was that little bit younger. x #triedtested

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